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Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Salt, pepper, and cheese come together to make the most delicious pasta dish that's the simplest thing you can make.
Photo by Lawrence Wang

"In this elemental Roman pasta dish, cheese provides the salt. Casio is a hard sheep's milk cheese similar to pecorino and is just a little sharper than Parmesan. With the aroma of cracked black pepper and the chewy texture of the semolina pasta, it's a perfect three-way marriage."

Servings: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes


14 ounces|397 grams boxed dried spaghetti
½ cup|120 grams unsalted butter, cut into 8 equal pieces
½ cup|120 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 cups|220 grams freshly grated cacio de Roma or pecorino cheese
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the pasta. Quickly return to a boil and cook until tender yet firm, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving the pasta water.
  2. Just before the pasta is ready, ladle about 2 cups|475 ml of pasta water into a large skillet. Add the butter, olive oil, and cracked pepper and bring to a simmer over medium-high.
  3. Add the drained pasta to the pan. Simmer gently until the sauce is slightly creamy (most of the sauce will be absorbed by the pasta), about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cacio or pecorino cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide among warm pasta bowls and top with the remaining 1 cup cheese and a few grinds of black pepper.

From Chef's Night Out: Brad Spence

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